Jason Derulo Talks Tattoos, 2 Chainz and Marriage

It seems like just yesterday Jason Derulo, 23, was dominating the airwaves with catchy tunes such as “Whatcha Say,” “In My Head” and “Ridin’ Solo” in 2009. Now, after a serious neck injury sidelined him for a year, the pop star is back with a more grown-up look and sound on his latest single “The Other Side.”

JET caught up with Derulo before his performance at The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival concert/fashion show last week in Chicago and asked him about his new album, “Tattoos,” collaborating with 2 Chainz and, of course, his famous girlfriend Jordin Sparks.

JET: What can fans expect from your new album “Tattoos,” which comes out next month?

Jason Derulo: “Tattoos” is definitely more grown up. I was 19 when my first album came out. I’ve gone through a lot of life experiences since then. I had a neck injury that drastically changed my life and put things in perspective. I worked on this album for a year and a half. I’m actually releasing “Tattoos” as an EP on Sept. 24 and then a full album later. The EP features “Talk Dirty,” which is my international single right now with 2 Chainz and “Vertigo” with Jordin [Sparks] which is a very sexy, piano-based, very stripped down song. I think people will enjoy this side of us.

JET: What’s the story behind the name “Tattoos” and what’s your favorite or most personal tattoo?

JD: Tattoos become a part of us. They stick with you for life. Tattoos are like experiences: there are some you’re very proud of and there are ones you regret. This album is like my body art. I just got a Tahitian warrior tattoo in Bora Bora. It symbolizes being love and being a champion.

JET: I watched the video for “Talk Dirty” last night and I couldn’t stop dancing. What was it like working with 2 Chainz?

JD: That’s awesome! I want people to dance to it. If someone’s not moving while they’re listening to it, I don’t trust that person. It was fun working with 2 Chainz. It’s a very fun record. When I was writing it, I knew I wanted someone on it, but I didn’t know who. Then I thought who talked the dirtiest and it’s 2 Chainz. He came in and ripped it and did this crazy verse.

JET: That’s awesome. And what was it like working with Jordin on “Vertigo”?

JD: It was very magical. I started it and thought it would be cool for her to get on and give it a different vibe. It shows a sexy side of us.

JET: Your new song “Marry Me” drops on Monday and we can’t help but wonder, is it about Jordin?

JD: All of my songs are about my life and this one is no different. When the time comes for me to get down on one knee, it will be the greatest moment of my life. There’s a lyric that says, “105 is the number that comes to head/when I think of all the years I want to be with you/wake up every morning with you in my bed/that’s exactly what I plan to do.”

JET: So, I have to ask, are there any plans to propose soon?

JD: When the time is right.

JET: How is “Tattoos” different from your other albums?

JD: The biggest difference is I’ve grown up so much. I had a near-death experience and falling in love. So it’s definitely more grown up, more sexy. It shows different dimensions of me as well, especially “Talk Dirty.” There’s a difference between that song and “Marry Me.”

JET: There are a lot of pop and R&B singers out there. What makes you stand out from the competition?

JD: I was the kid in high school that could hang with anybody. I had many different friends. As far as competition goes, I see it as being in competition with myself. I’m doing my thing, I’m not in it to compete with anybody honestly. I know I’ve been doing this since I was 4. I eat, live and breathe my music. I write my own music and I think that makes a difference, too.

JET: I know you’ve written songs for other artists before becoming a solo artist. What is the biggest difference between being a songwriter and a singer?

JD: Fulfillment is the biggest difference. I felt that was the biggest part I was missing. I love being in the studio and being on stage.

JET: And I imagine performing means even more to you now, especially after your neck injury.

JD: When I’m on stage dancing, I get emotional because it could have been so much different. I have a tattoo on my left wrist that says “undefeated.” There are crazy experiences in our life that can bring us down, but that doesn’t mean they have to defeat us. So that’s why I start my shows with a headstand to symbolize how far I’ve come.

JET: Now, I have to admit, you’re a pretty phenomenal dancer. Where did you get your moves?

JD: I’ve been dancing since I was 4 and I took all kinds of dance–tap, jazz, even ballet.

JET: What is something about you that people don’t know?

JD: When I set my alarm, I don’t set it on an exact time. So if I have to wake up at 8, I set my clock for 8:01.

JET: Are you superstitious? 

JD: No, it’s just everyone does it one way, I want to do it another way. I want to be a little different.